Perfectionism and humility: Kent Nagano turns 70 | NDR.de – Culture


Status: 11/22/2021 23:59.

Kent Nagano has been Managing Director of Music at the Hamburg State Opera and President of the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra since the 2015/16 season. He celebrated his 70th birthday on November 22.

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by Frederick Westerhouse

In a good mood, Kent Nagano sits in his office at the opera house and lets his gaze wander over the rooftops of Hamburg. Does he have a wish for his 70th birthday? “I think I already have the best birthday present because I do two Electra rehearsals on my birthday. I would, and it’s already here now. Two exercises on his own day that suits him. Because he is at home in music.

A Californian citizen of Japanese descent is a citizen of the world. He has served as president in Lyon, Manchester, Los Angeles, Berlin, Munich and others. His home is music. In his book “10 Lessons From My Life – What Really Matters”, he writes that he thinks “every note of the score, every aspect, always from different angles”. Looks like a perfectionist.

Team spirit is particularly important for Kent Nagano

My voice: Kent Nagano driving Kanata Mahler “Das klagende Lied” (62 min)

The conductor says, “You can be really obsessed, and that’s not good for art. On the other hand, every artist I know and respect – we’re all perfect at trying to get perfect vision. So perfect that we already know that it is impossible. So yeah, at least that’s what my wife says, I’m a perfectionist.

Kent Nagano is admired for his clear and thoughtful reading of sheet music, and appreciated for his calm and balanced style. In his role as Managing Director of Music in Hamburg, the idea of ​​the team takes on special meaning: “We all try to be honest in this house in a really straightforward way, and we try to prioritize well. This priority to quality is very clear.

Humility is the hardest lesson

Kent Nagano shaped the musical life of Hamburg for six years, ranging from “The Troins” by Hector Berlioz to pieces commissioned by Toshio Hosokawa and Jörg Weidmann. Kent Nagano is full of energy and vision, full of ideas for new projects. He has retained his curiosity and still considers himself an educated person.

One of the most difficult lessons is: “Humility. Without humility, you will not progress as an artist. Otherwise, we are pessimists, that is, we know everything, we know everything. And when the time comes, we are no longer artists.

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NDR culture | Classic by day | 11/22/2021 | 6:40 a.m.

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